Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bob Rae Hits Quebec

While the story focuses on rehashed nothingness, there is something informative at the bottom of the Bob Rae article, namely the Liberals might have finally discovered this one province in Canada, think they call it Quebec:
He said the Liberals will be stumping in Quebec in early 2012 to pick up votes that now appear to be up for grabs. “I’m going to be spending quite a bit of time there in the new year and doing what I can to have an impact.”

Reads of this blog will know I've gone on and on for years imploring the Liberals to devise a more robust and AGGRESSIVE Quebec strategy. Whenever I have had an occasion to speak with anyone of substance in the Liberal Party, my first question always revolved around Quebec. Despite some fits and starts, the Liberals haven't articulated any clear outreach in Quebec, certain imperatives and festering problems rarely dealt with. There has been a certain passivity apparent within the Liberal ranks. I recall asking a core OLO francophone, with the former Leader's ear, about Quebec and received the most mundane of responses, basically not much to do until the election (this from someone with intimate knowledge of the province, seasoned and respected). I was stunned to be quite honest. Not a defeatist attitude, but almost a casual view, rather than assertive, I've never felt any URGENCY within the thought process. The NDP had that urgency, and that's how they became the default "second choice" in the province, first winning a seat, then becoming more credible, finally a leader who appealed to increasingly fertile ground. Meanwhile, Liberals seemed okay with a narrowing audience, we had our bastions, beyond that a growing irrelevance of the highest order.

I understand Liberals have had many internal issues, the Coderre fiasco, many other organizational problems, but these problems always struck me as excuses. The NDP had NO organization, proving that one should never limit themselves within a simple discussion of nuts and bolts. I want Liberals to see Quebec as "anything is possible" rather than limiting our appeal, based on outdated language and approaches. Better to try and fail, than to not try at all, and sadly, for wide swaths of Quebec, the Liberals have failed to reach out in any substantive way.

I'm encouraged to hear Bob Rae will make Quebec a key thrust for himself and the party moving forward, because whenever I run the electoral numbers, our health in Quebec is a key consideration. A hunger and urgency, armed with a fresh and inclusive presentation, we might just surprise ourselves.


John Lennard said...

What would your Qu├ębec strategy look like?

Steve V said...

Liberals need to quit living in the past as it relates to Quebec, the province has moved past the old federalist/separatist definitions. I believe the Liberals need to be provocative and challenge Quebecers to be confident in themselves and their place within Canada. There is a very compelling argument that fear of outside influence hurts economic growth, the final end product of the Quiet Revolution is to look outward, the Liberals can speak to a new federal relationship (and this goes across the country) that seeks to take on insecurities, perceived threats and says you've truly "arrived" when old threats are new compliments.

I don't claim to be an expert, but it appears the vast majority of Quebecers have simply tuned out the Liberal Party as a viable option, we aren't even a "second choice". The question then becomes, are you prepared to write off wide swaths of the electorate and cling to outdated definitions or are you prepared to re-engage with arguments that make sense to a modern Quebec. What is the practical point of being the great defenders of Trudeau centralism if no one is even listening, if you speak with no powerbase to have concrete worth? Right now, we are in the midst of an esoteric argument, as our former supporters simply leave, get old and to be blunt, die off. That's where we're at in Quebec, a tired brand fighting for something that has no meaning to anyone but ourselves.

I'll flesh these generalizations out, perhaps another post...

Jerry Prager said...

democratic reform: Quebec had a fascist/corporatist government in the Post War period, Harper's support comes from the remnant of those old cons, when the Libs failed to put democratic reform in the platform, Quebec democrats went to Layton, a native son, and a fierce egalitarian.

Jerry Prager said...

Considering that Warren Kinsella is leading a civil war against Bob Rae, my prediction is the Liberal Party will remain corporatist, and therefor fail to ever again occupy the radical centre, the John Manleys and other right wing continentalists will keep their stranglehold on the party, and hope Stephen Harper hands them back power, so they can continue pissing away Canadian democracy for the profit of their friends.

marie said...

Happy New Year Steve for your thoughtful posts and Bah humbug to the deniers likely the NDP trolls

They are as close to Cons in their politics and are the cause of Canada’s suffering and I mean that literally a majority government. May they pay with the absence of the soft Liberals. May Layton rest in peace and his inept mps and supporters quit taking advantage of Layton's death. We have all had friends and families die of cancer so it’s high time to get off the bandwagon of riding on Layton’s bout with cancer and his death. Let him rest in peace instead of reliving the past because as much as we’d like, we cannot alter the past of, May 2nd 2011. Its time to move forward, work together to save Canada from Harper's greedy dictatorial cluches.

You fools voted him in 2005 and again and supported him again in his next elections in order to buy votes at the expense of all Canadians and our country. Was it all worth that?

Only time will tell. I think not.

It is never too late to save your souls. Jack has been dead for the past 6 or so months so let the story die there from his supporters and the partisan media.

Steve V said...

Happy new year Marie.

Another story on Rae and Quebec:

Jerry Prager said...

I see Warren Kinsella is back to attacking Rae full bore. Pretty much what he's done the last four elections, attack the federal liberals, driving wedges, keeping the party divided, and why? Because he works for the provincial liberals, Ontario nearly always splits it's votes between federal and provincial parties.
As long as cons are in Ottawa there will be libs in Toronto. As soon as there are libs in Ottawa down go the Ontario libs and Kinsella's last power base.
He loves to parrot Chretien's talk about the value of a liberal democratic party but he despises all things NDP, and that's because he's from a privileged family, and is as Machiavellian as the Jesuits who trained him.
He is a right wing fiscal liberal, which means he will never not support corporate control of the Canadian agenda. He'll attack that agenda in Conservative hands but kinder gentler corporatism is still corporatism.
The alternate economy already exists, it's called the cooperative movement and unless the Liberal Party moves to democratize the economy by embracing cooperative free enterprise and credit union banking, the liberals will have nothing useful to say, just like they have had nothing useful to say anywhere else in the world where Liberals failed to oppose corporatism and have vanished from the political landscape.